For over a decade I ran a 34 foot inboard diesel boat on Lake Tanganyika. We had several scary experiences with storms and, one time, a near collision with a fishing trawler (at which time one member of the crew said, “My soul had already left my body!”).

The country of Burundi has been going through a storm surrounding the upcoming elections.

There have been protests, some deaths, and scores of thousands of refugees into neighboring countries. Universities in the capital city are closed. HAU is operating with a small administrative staff and very little academic activity. We have a contingent of soldiers on campus for security and we have had no property damage. Some of the international students have not been able to go to their home countries so they are cared for in the dormitory. Our medical extensions, the Van Norman Clinic and Kibuye Hope Hospital have continued to provide services with the exception of the absence of students who have gone to their homes. The branch campus at Gitega (Mweya/Mt. Hope) has continued to operate with students attending classes.

Following the advice of the summit of East African Leaders to the leaders of Burundi, elections have been postponed for nearly two months. This means the period of political activity and tension is extended. The memories of the ethnic conflicts of over a decade ago are vivid and so there is much fear. Hope Africa University leaders are monitoring the situation as to when the school can resume normal functions.

This crisis will end. When it does the role of Hope Africa University will be even more vital in rebuilding peace and offering hope. Foreign aid has been affected by the tensions thus depressing the national economy. We are anticipating intensified poverty affecting the families who send students to the university. There will also be needs to assist the university in the period where its income is reduced to near zero. Therefore we are asking for gifts in two categories:
1) Scholarships for what we anticipate to be literally thousands of needy students, and
2) General support for the school—administration, utilities, transport.

I heard a story recently that seemed to fit:
A young boy fell in the river. His father found a piece of old rope which he threw to his son in the water. Then he noticed that the rope was frayed and about to break above where his son was holding on. He shouted to his son,

That is what we are doing for Hope Africa University. We must, in faith, reach beyond the troubles and hold on. When order returns we want to be there, holding on and ready to move forward. I am asking you to join us now–in the mobilizing of finances in readiness–and then in the victory of this great kingdom institution called Hope Africa University as it resumes its stride.

Thank you for considering these requests. And please do join us in praying for Hope Africa University and its leaders, and for the nation of Burundi at this critical time.

In His glad service,


You can help us REACH BEYOND THE BREAK and be ready to help Hope Africa University by sending your support to:

Friends of Hope Africa University, PO Box 580, Spring Arbor, MI 49283,

or by donating online.


  1. 7-30-2015

    My husband & I travelled to Burundi in April/May this year & immediately fell in love and felt at home in your beautiful country – despite the turmoil. We were based with Youth for Christ and Villages of Life in Cibitoke. We had hoped to see more of Burundi and to visit the Academy in Gitega but were unable to do so. Education is very close to my heart & I believe you are absolutely on track with raising up leaders for your country through this avenue. Please add us to your prayer list, have been praying for Burundi and specifics are always good.
    Blessings to you, the staff & students
    Maria & Phil Unwin

  2. 6-15-2016

    Thank you for your comment and your prayer support. If you would like to be added to our contact list for email updates and newsletters please send your information to

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